Once every two years, my desire to be anywhere other than in front of a TV evaporates. I tough out the repetitive, vapid commercials in that desire to watch sports I would never even consider watching otherwise.
It’s been awhile since Turin, but I remember sitting in my living room at home, watching NBC late at night while I should’ve been doing homework. Now, I’m sitting in Tressider Union in front of a much larger TV with maybe five or six others. My roommates and I were unable to secure a TV for our apartment, but coming here isn’t too inconvenient. And the TV is nice.
It helps that NBC has embraced the shift towards internet-streaming as well. The US v. China basketball game felt different without the commentary, but likely not significantly less enjoyable. The real benefit, however, are the off-sports that don’t seem to hit prime-time here in the US. I’ve watched handball, air pistol, archery, fencing, judo, and more, and now, I just feel bad for not supporting Stanford athletes in these very enjoyable sports.
And on Friday night, I was at an amazing jazz concert*, but I watched the entire 3 hour opening ceremony broadcast from a computer screen this afternoon. And boy was that impressive. The pageantry used scale in such an impressive manner, without losing any of the artistic design.
The most interesting part of the opening ceremony, however, came from Bob Costas, Matt Lauer, and Joshua Cooper Ramo in the NBC voice-over commentary. Regardless of actual, or even perceived, current political conflicts, China presented a welcoming, neutral, hopeful ceremony without any sinister undertones. In unusual juxtaposition, the commentators made several comments about anticipated controversy, such as Iraq coming onto the field, and current events, such as the Russia-Georgia conflict, that didn’t quite fit into the spirit of the event. And even a possible jab from Cooper Ramo, who said that the greatest point in China’s history was the Tang dynasty for its “openness.”
But I confess, it might have just been me looking for a point of controversy in an otherwise uncontroversial showing. Let me know if you noticed the same thing as well, or I was trying too hard. I would hate to be the person hearing subliminal messages in rock songs played backwards.
*the Stanford Jazz Festival All-Star Jam, including Delfeayo Marsalis, Joshua Redman, and Barry Harris; it was absolutely amazing, but I don’t think it’s writable